Wabi-sabi and enjoying your imperfections

by Scout Mitchell

Between the frustration of inconvenient snow, dwindling budgets and an unrealistic abstinence from booze, the new year brings prosperity but reminds us that the first month of the year is always a tough one.

We are now well into January and probably panicking over failing to commit to our new years resolutions. A cold turkey detox from our vices is difficult when there are still three unopened selection boxes and a surplus of wine left over from the Christmas party season. The miserable weather is the perfect time to indulge in self-loathing by engaging in Netflix marathons and scrolling through our timelines on social media and judging everyone. The idea of a blank slate is nice but in reality it’s a process. We need to accept flaws and embrace them with the aim of progressing. The new year is a time for change but it is also a time of acceptance which is why it is the perfect time to adopt Wabi-sabi principles into our lives.

Wabi-sabi is a Japanese world view that roughly translates to ’embracing imperfection’. In a world plagued with filters and ‘candids’, our perceptions of reality can become altered and this can influence our mental health in negative ways. This addiction that we have of constantly comparing ourselves to other people’s highlight reels is an extremely bad habit. Instead of focusing on our own goals and values we strive for unattainable perfection.

Wabi-sabi embraces the natural flaws and encourages one to see beauty in them. Embracing this mentality is an excellent way to set realisitic goals for oneself that can be easily retained in our day to day life. Here are some ways you can apply wabi-sabi principles to your new year resolutions:

1. Exercise

Exercise is important for both health and well being and it is a great habit to get into. However, it can be easy to get fixated on a number, routine and image. Your health is the priority, not your image. Instead of pledging your Sundays to the gym why not go for a scenic run? We have a plethora of beaches in Ireland and although the ground may be uneven, the view could be worth it. Don’t be afraid to take up a new hobby or class at the risk of looking stupid or not having the perfect gear. Focus on your own self – motivation and you will be more likely to keep it up.

2. Eating healthily

As far as dieting, the similar patterns can occur as an immediate effect is often sought from the outset. Cutting down on fatty foods and carbs is a great lifestyle choice to make but treating yourself occasionally is allowed. Don’t eat that walnut whip in guilt – enjoy it. Proceed with your diet plan. Slip ups are going to happen so you may as well enjoy them. A positive outlook combined with incentives will contribute to a better lifestyle.

3. De-cluttering

Turning a new leaf represents change. That does not translate to shopping excessively in the winter sales to create your new image and cutting off the dead wood. Decluttering your home can be a catharthic process and a necessary one after years of hoarding. You may feel the need to take a Marie Kondo approach to your wardrobe and ditch every item that doesn’t ‘sparkle’ but before you do, take the time to appreciate your clothes and what makes your style you.

4. College and work goals

The start of the new year is a perfect time to set markers and goals for where we want to see ourselves in whatever amount of time. There is always room for improvement in our habits and work ethic and a great way to assess such needs is to remind yourself of your best qualities and traits that are entirely unique to you. This applies to your flaws too, they make you who you are and should be included in your reflections.

The path that a friend or colleague is taking may be great for them but you don’t need to compare it to your own. Only you know what’s right for you. Challenge yourself and recognise the positive aspects of your abilities. It may just give you the confidence boost you need.

New year, new you: we all want to be the best version of ourselves. But it is important to remember that our ‘flaws’ tell our stories and by embracing them we learn to appreciate the little things even more. So get planning and have a Wabi-sabi year.

Scout Mitchell

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